I’m actually already the owner of a couple of ‘classic’ bikes. I say ‘classic’ because they are both modern motorcycles that were made to act and look like classic bikes. My dad made them so they are a bit special to me, and I inherited them when he passed away last year. Rather sadly they are currently in Wales which is the wrong country.

I don’t have anything specifically against Wales but it’s where my dad’s evil second wife, who we shall refer to as the ‘Goat Witch’ lives and so the bikes need to be rescued from her. This is going to involve a van (something which sadly I’ve been unable to discover while cleaning out the sheds) and a very long drive which is why they haven’t been retrieved yet.

Anyway, here is a picture of one of the bikes taken when I last visited my dad in Wales and we spent a whole muddy weekend riding bikes around. He also taught me how to start this bike which is an art in itself – it’s a 500cc single cylinder bike so it takes a bit of a boot to get it going.

The 'Fake', although I like to call it 'The Beast'

The 'Fake', although I like to call it 'the Beast'

The frame is based on a loop of tube from Mole Valley Farmers sheep rack range of products, plus other bits – the geometry is based loosely on Sammy Miller’s works Ariel bike from the museum. He threw my dad out of his museum when he caught him doing a bit of espionage with a tape measure.

Things get more interesting when you look at the engine. It is a 498cc four stroke based on 1955 Ariel Red Hunter crankcases with steel flywheels which don’t explode at high revs unlike the cast iron road bike versions. It’s got a 85mm stroke and Triumph high capacity oil pump instead of pathetic Ariel version which wouldn’t fill the cistern in a doll’s house loo. That last part is a direct quote from my dad.

A home ground trials type camshaft (with gentle valve opening) to give good low speed torque is combined with a Piston is from a Toyota car engine, much machined, which cost about £20 instead of the £90 odd for a proper bike one. The Barrel is from a Lister stationary diesel engine – my dad smashed the fins off, cleaned it up in the lathe, got a foundry to pour aluminium around it and machined the fins on, plus the recess for the cylinder head.

Click here to read more about my classic trials bike.